Last night, I decided to watch the documentary film, “Just Eat It. A Food Waste Story,” and I was impressed and entertained. Working at a company like Ugly Juice, where food waste is the main focus, I am always looking for new viewpoints on the issue. And “Just Eat It” delivered.
The documentary follows filmmakers and foodies Jen and Grant explore the issue of food waste from farm to to fridge. At Ugly Juice, we focus on the produce wasted, but “Just Eat It” opened my eyes into the world of grocery store waste, manufacturer waste, and restaurant waste all while following a 6 month wasted food challenge.
Here’s why you should watch it...
It makes food waste really easy to digest
Throughout the film, Jen and Grant embark on a 6 month challenge to eat only wasted food. From dumpster diving to farm visits, their eyes (and those of the audience) are opened to the magnitude of food waste. From boxes upon boxes of organic chocolate bars found in a dumpster to fields of celery stalks that didn’t fit in plastic bags to grocery stores refusing to sell bruised bananas, it is clear that food waste occurs at every level of production.
Through striking visuals, well explained statistics, and multiple interviews, “Just Eat It” is a film that everyone can learn from.
It brings food waste home
Jen and Grant’s exploration of food waste is ultimately centered around what they consume during the challenge. In six months, they spent $200 on $20,000 worth of surplus food. Because the issue of food waste is such a huge and complex topic, the film just brushes the surface of the issue. They are shocked by the amount of rejected food that they are able to recover...ironically they end up having too much food that they don't know what to do with.
It makes you question your food habits
We live in a society that is obsessed with expiration dates and labels. Do you know the difference between “Best Before…” date, “Sell by…” date and “Expiration date…”? If not, consider watching the film (or doing some research). We throw so much food away prematurely based solely on dates (and not on edibility). Instead of eating based on craving, consider eating based on accessibility. The film explains some of the roots of the issue of food waste, dating back to the history of agriculture and production of surplus for survival needs.
It’s actually quite funny
By the end of the film, Jen and Grant have so much wasted (but perfectly edible) food that they have to start inviting friends over to take it. They call their home a “grocery store” and are basically forcing food on others. Remember those chocolate bars I mentioned earlier? They decided to save them for Halloween to hand out to kids (who doesn’t want a full-size chocolate bar??). To their disappointment, only a handful of kids showed up and they were stuck in the same position with delicious, excess food. It touches on the tendency of humans to create surplus and save food.
The film is visually captivating
One scene that stuck out was the lifecycle of a yellow pepper shot over a year. From seed to eventual disintegration in the fridge, the story is strikingly captured. The flyover shots, time lapses, and interviews with multiple experts in the field provide beautiful perspectives on the magnitude of the issue.
The contributors are food waste experts
A few of the notable contributors include author/activist Tristram Stuart, Journalist/author Jonathan Bloom and Project scientist Dana Gunders author of "Wasted: How America is Losing Up to 40% of Its Food from Farm to Fork to Landfill." Each of them brought their unique experience and perspective on the issue of food waste and offer great insight. Check out their work by clicking on their names!
All in all, "Just Eat It. A Food Waste Story" provided an accessible introduction into some of the issues of food waste. Because the magnitude of the issue is so grand, it only brushes the surface. But if you need an easy-to-watch, educational film to watch, check it out!